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Scientific Reports

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Biomass burning and wind-blown dust has been well investigated during the past decade regarding their impacts on environment, but their co-existence hasn’t been recognized because they usually occur in different locations and episodes. In this study we reveal the unique co-existence condition that dust from the Taklamakan and Gobi Desert (TGD) and biomass burning from Peninsular Southeast Asia (PSEA) can reach to the west Pacific region simultaneously in boreal spring (March and April). The upper level trough at 700hPa along east coast of China favors the large scale subsidence of TGD dust while it travels southeastwards, and drives the PSEA biomass burning plume carried by the westerlies at 3–5 km to descend rapidly to around 1.5 km and mix with dust around southeast China and Taiwan. As compared to the monthly averages in March and April, surface observations suggested that concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, O3, and CO were 69%, 37%, 20%, and 18% higher respectively during the 10 identified co-existence events which usually lasted for 2–3 days. Co-existence also lowers the surface O3, NOx, and SO2 by 4–5% due to the heterogeneous chemistry between biomass burning and mineral dust as indicated by model simulations.


This article was published openly thanks to the University of Tennessee Open Publishing Support Fund.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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